CRL Premiers Massetti Cup Rd 7 Wrap
Linwood Keas and Celebration Lions both extended their Canterbury Rugby League winning streaks to five matches in Round 7, while Hornby Panthers joined the pair at the top of the Massetti Cup ladder with an impressive victory over a fellow heavyweight.
The Panthers – bristling from the previous Saturday’s last-gasp loss to the Lions – carved out a 24-16 success over Papanui Tigers at Branston Park, scoring five tries to three.
Following a hard-fought first half that saw them lead just 10-0 at the break, the Keas cruised to a 32-16 win against Northern Bulldogs at Murphy Park. The defending champs powered out to a 26-point advantage before the home side bagged a couple of late tries to add some respectability to the scoreboard.
The Keas will be sweating on the fitness of fullback Erwin Sauni ahead of next week’s showdown with the Panthers after the Canterbury Bulls star was helped off the field with a knee injury midway through the second stanza.
The Lions overturned a halftime deficit to subdue a plucky Riccarton Knights outfit at Crosbie Park. The Knights, who chalked up their first win of 2017 a week earlier, led 16-12 at the interval, but the Lions rode a hat-trick from winger Hamish Jarden to a 34-28 victory.
Second-last in 2016 with just three wins, the surprise-packet Lions are undefeated since their opening-round thrashing at the hands of the Tigers.
Halswell Hornets snapped a four-match losing streak in emphatic style, whipping Aranui Eagles 42-12 at QE II Park after leading 28-4 at halftime. Hornets winger Jake Skilling’s impressive tryscoring form continued, bagging a double to take his season tally to six touchdowns from just four outings.
The heavy nature of the Eagles’ fifth straight loss has consigned them to last place on percentages, while the Panthers’ healthy for-and-against sees them sit atop the Massetti Cup standings.
Hornby Panthers 24 (Charlie Charlie, Craig Smith, Christian Eric, Corey Lawrie, Ross Turi tries; James Baxendale 2 goals) d. Papanui Tigers 16 (Jules Webley, Jahrome Clarke, Jared Neho tries; Izic Placid 2 goals).
Celebration Lions 34 (Hamish Jarden 3, Kalolo Aukilan Tuuu, Matthew Molioo, Kane Ferris, Abraham Fonmoa tries; Tama Walker 3 goals) d. Riccarton Knights 28 (Caleb Reweti 2, Justin Lynch, Rikki Bidios, Jope Tagicakibau tries; Tagicakibau 4 goals).
Halswell Hornets 42 (Jake Skilling 2, Aaron Fiveash, Texas Toleafoa, Sean Scott, Willie Davis, Kereti Edwards, Quintin Needham tries; Jamie Nuttridge 5 goals) d. Aranui Eagles 12
Linwood Keas 32 (Jiordan Fidow-Kele, Grahame Patu-Vaega’Au, Matt Clydesdale, Willie Yeow, Phil Wahnig, Chris Nijjsen tries; Daniel Hartley 4 goals) d. Northern Bulldogs 16 (John Kaukura, Chase Williams, Faletoese Faletoese tries; Te Wano Thomas 2 goals).
MASSETTI CUP POINTS TABLE: Hornby Panthers 10, Linwood Keas 10, Celebration Lions 10, Papanui Tigers 8, Halswell Hornets 4, Northern Bulldogs 2, Riccarton Knights 2, Aranui Eagles 2.